Wrong Mission

Gareth Hughes wants the NZ Defence Force to send ships to the Southern Ocean in order to protect protestors:

Parliament will be presented with proposed legislation which would see the New Zealand Defence Force monitor Japan’s annual whale slaughter on the southern seas.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes is penning a private members’ bill which would seek to amend the Defence Act 1990.

The modification would see a Naval vessel accompany the Japanese hunting fleet, a move Hughes said would ensure the safety of protest vessels trying to disrupt the whaling.

The mooted law change will be placed into the private members’ bill ballot when Parliament resumes next month.

”Arguably it is one of the functions under the Defence Act anyway. But this would just make it explicit,” Hughes told Fairfax Media.

”It shows New Zealanders care and we are sending a strong message to Japan. It is like when [Norman] Kirk first sent a frigate to Mururoa Atoll .th.th. it is about bearing witness to an environmental crime.”

A better mission for the NZ Defence forces would be to protect legitimate ship owners conducting legal fishing activities from the depredations of pirates and vandals.

The flying of a skull and crossbones without Letters of Marque means you are a pirate, attacking and boarding vessels illegally means you are a pirate. Pirates are the scourge of the ocean:

Piracy is the name of a specific crime under customary international law and also the name of a number of crimes under the municipal law of a number of States. It is distinguished from privateering, which is authorized by national authorities and therefore a legitimate form of war-like activity by non-state actors. Privateering is considered commerce raiding, and was outlawed by the Peace of Westphalia (1648) for signatories to those treaties.

Sea Shepherd meets all the legal requirements fro being described as pirates. Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. Sea Shepherd in boarding vessels, preventing them going about their lawful undertakings and attempting to halt their sea going progress is committing acts of piracy.

If Gareth Hughes wants the Navy to go down tot eh Southern ocean then let them go down there to arrest pirates.


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  • ConwayCaptain

    You know your history WO!!!!

    The Treaty of Westphalia actually set up the modern Nation States.

    Letters of Mart and Countermart are contained in the preamble to the Lloyds Insurance Policy.

    Acts of zGod, restraints of Kings and Princes etc etc.

    • Anonymous

      what on earth are you talking about

      • ConwayCaptain

        Read the Lloyds Ship nsurance Policy.

        It is all in there

    • Paul Rain

      Would be nice if the Japanese would issue a few letters of marque to hunt the vermin down.

  • ConwayCaptain

    What they should be stopping is the poorly equipped and prepared ships going down South of NZ.  We have had THREE Korean fishing vessels in trouble 2 sank, and a Russian.

  • Michael

    The MV Steve Irwin and MV Bob Barker are Dutch registered ships. The MV Briggette Bardot is Australian. The Whalers are Japanese. They are not necessarily operating in an area that NZ is responsible for.  There is no justification for a NZ Naval ship to interfere, in fact it could be seen as an act of war by New Zealand if they get involved and if we send a ship it’s an invitation to the (much bigger) Japanese Navy to get involved – and who knows where it could end.

    Hughes needs to get some better advice if he thinks this is a good idea.

    • Paul Rain

      Didn’t you know? International law is only important when it can be cited to restrict civilized people from dealing to savages. When it interferes with the divine mission to interfere with decent people on behalf of the Earth Mother, it doesn’t count.

  • Granny

    Piracy in NZ law is defined in the Crimes Act s92 as piracy “by the law of nations”, with related offences in the Maritime Crimes Act.

    Piracy by the law of nations is now defined in treaty law (Law of the Sea Convention Art 101), and that probably supersedes any customary definition. It involves

    “any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation,
    committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private
    ship or a private aircraft…”

    Sea Shepherd’s crew are well drilled, and will not have done any of the acts of violence, detention or depredation  – and will certainly argue that they didn’t act for “private end”.  Whatever they are doing, it is not piracy, and unless they are doing it in NZ territorial waters or to a NZ Ship, then NZ has no jurisdiction.

    • Peter Wilson

      The point is Granny, the Sea Shepherd MAY commit acts of piracy, or do you think they are there to have a cup of tea.

      And they are part of a political movement, so of course they are acting for a private end. 

      But I do agree with you; NZ should keep out of it, since it is out of our territory. 

    • Paul Rain

      We should be cooperating with the US to make the Law of the Sea treaty utterly ineffective. This ridiculous scam created yet another body like the UN which gives power to communist and terrorist states, and even individual environmentalist groups.

  • ConwayCaptain

    My My we are getting erudite today on this site.

    Here is a question, What is the oldest treaty between two countries and which two and how many time has it been invoked??

    • Michael

      Second Treaty of Lambeth (1217) – ensures the Channel Islands remain under control of the English Crown and gave up any French claim to the English throne. Mainly a peace treaty between France and England following French involvement in a civil war, and an amnesty for English rebels who fought with the French.

      Despite several attempts by French and German forces, the Channel Islands are British today.

    • Granny

      Between Countries which exist as entities today?

      Treaty of Zamora 1143, giving Portugal independence from Leon and Castile, forerunners of modern Spain (formed by the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabela of Castile in 1474).  Portugal’s borders have remain constant ever since, despite various wars with Spain.I would have gone for Heiligen 811 between Denmark and the Holy Roman Empire, but the danish border is now far to the north of the Elder River, as Schleswig Holstein is in Germany.  

      • ConwayCaptain

        Leon and Castille do not exist as separate countries now and the CI themselves went to England, they wanted to.  I lived there.

        Actually the Treaty of Windsor between England and Portugal and it has been evoked 4 times.  Between Edward 111 and John of Portugal.  He married John of Gaunts daughter

    • Granny

      As I can’t reply inline, and because I have nothing better to do on a windy Sunday morning in Wellingtown.

      The states of Castile and Leon remain to this day as an autonomous region in Spain, and have as much right to claim continued independent existence as England has within the United Kingdom. It all depends on your personal viewpoint –  and I’m with the Castilians on this one.. 

      The 1143 Treaty of Zamora predates the 1373 Anglo-Portuguese Treaty (forerunner of the Treaty of Windsor) by 230 years, although Wikipedia cites the 1373 as the oldest treaty still in force – which means it MUST be true.

      Arguably the Iberian Unification after 1580 negates the claims of both Portuguese treaties to continued existence, but since the UK (not England!) relied on the 1373 treaty as recently as 1981, I guess we can overlook that one, as we can overlook England fighting with the Dutch against Portugal at various times.

  • Peter Wilson

    That’s interesting by the Green Party.

    They want a law that will protect people who are intent of disrupting others, and arguably breaking the law. After all, the See Shepherd is searching out the whalers not vice versa.

    It’s like giving burglars a hotline to police in case they try to rob someone bigger than them.

  • Pauleastbay


    I love this tradition with the British subs.

    Hughes isn’t worth the bandwidth to discuss this really

    • ConwayCaptain


      The BEST by a log streak, submarine service in the world.

      Argies step out of line and a tomahawk will be flying through your back door.

  • Anonymous

    This idea of Hughes also begs a wider question. What are the navy going to use to achieve this policy? Pirates in treaty or in law, aside, these fools have at least the smell of piracy about them. They have tried to ram other ships, and have in a least one case succeeded. To counteract pirates, the Navy needs a line of ships which are able to both go and stay in the Ross Sea for a suitable length of time, and then take action against the Green Numpties. They do not have this. In addition, to get the speed necessary to intervene in this whole piracy thing they probably need a mother ship as well.

    News for the Greens and Tiddly Hughes also – the continual attack on the Defense Budget by the Left has left the Navy bereft of any resources you could sensible use to achieve this target.

    So Mr Hughes! Yourt policy again demands excessive spending on materiel to achieve the policy, when the possible outcome is to simply try to stop the Japanese taking a number of whales each year. Do the Math!

    • They fly the jolly roger and have it painted on their ships…no more evidence needed.

  • Honcho

    From the same green party who had wanted to scrap our warships and replace them with peaceful inshore patrol vessels?

    Now wants to send our warships, and the good men and women who serve on them to dangerous sub antarctic waters to protect ill equiped protesters engaging in illegal acts.

    • ConwayCaptain


      These Pollies are all the same.  Left or Right.  Defence is the easiest budget to cut and then they all want to go to war at the drop of a hat.

      Blair in Iraq, Afghanistan.

      Cameron, scrap the carriers and 6 months later bombing Libya and having to use expensive land based arircraft out of Italian bases.

  • Politically Unstable

    If the navy go down there, they would have to take action against the Sea Shepherd. There is a line that has to be drawn. If you ever have listened to Noam Chomsky he states that activism over the years has helped shape the future – which is pretty true. But a line has to be drawn when teh activism is endangering lives.

  • Gazzaw

    Correct me if I am wrong Captain but are ‘Te Kaha’ & ‘Te Mana’ able to safely negotiate Antarctic waters? I seem to recall that one of them suffered structural damage on an early foray down there. Why would we risk 160 RNZN lives to provide security for protestors on a flag-waving exercise. Fuck ’em.

    • Anonymous


    • ConwayCaptain


      They are not ice strengthened and one suffered a crack forward of the bridge but aft of the gun mount.  These frigates are built like straving greyhoundfs.  If you remember the Icelandic Cod Wars in the 60’s and 70’s it was reported that the RN had about 1/3rd of its frigate strength being fixed up from heavy weather damages.

      The danger is the small ice bits that dont show on radar and in fact ice is v hard to pck up as it absorbs the wave and dosent reflect it

    • ConwayCaptain


      When HMMZS Wellington (ex HMS Bacchante) was sunk in the Cook Strait after theb first storm she had split in two just forward of the bridge and aft of the 4.5 gun mount.

  • Jimmie

    If Hughes was serious about his green convictions he would write the amendment to include that any ship sent south must be powered by environmentally friendly energy – ie the frigate would have to have solar panels all over it and maybe a couple of windmills.

    That would have the japs shaking in their undies lol

    • phronesis

      It would probably run on whaleoil without modifications. Whaleoil is a renewable resource after all….

    • ConwayCaptain


      The number of photo voltaic cells reqd to  give enough power to propel this ship is far mre than the ship could carry.

      They are building ships with LPG or LNG propulsion but this is for short haul.  In fact they have been running one that carries sand into Adelaide for more than 20 years.  These would be totally impratical for a warship 1 Lack of range.  2 Shell in the wrong place BOOM

    • Ploughman

      They should have Green Party members as paddlers – might need long paddles though.

  • EX Navy Greg

    The problem with the new OPV’s, Wellinton and Otago is this. They actually are ice strengthened but some dumbarse naval architect got the weight calculation wrong so they are about 90 tonnes too heavy.This means the thicker skin etc is below the waterline instead of just above it.As for the storm down there,110 knot wind. 8 metre seas.Superficial damage only, bent rails, mast and lost lifeboats. They are actually a very capable ship.
    ANYBODY that heads down there un prepared or to deliberately interfere with someone elses lawful business deserves what they get, and the RNZN should not be used as a tool to assist protesters.

  • Anonymous

    So typical of the unemployable dipshits that are elected, sorry appointed to Parliament on party lists.
    If anybody has responsibility to send warships south on a policing mission it is the Japanese. If the unseaworthy ships of the pirates disappeared overnight nobody would miss them.
    Interesting that our very own pirate was taken back to Japan and prosecuted. But this year they gave the Australian pirate back to the Australians, is that because they have more economic clout than us or there prerequisite of a criminal history for entry.

    • Granny

      Probably neither.  They boarded the ship on the high seas within the Australian EEZ (in fact within the Australian Contiguous Zone) and not far outside Australian Territorial Waters, where Australia’s jurisdiction over ships is severely limited.

      There was probably not much for the Japanese to charge them with – maybe boarding a vessel without the Captain’s permission, and with the intent of causing annoyance and embarrassment, but certainly not Piracy – and it would be cheaper to hand them over to the Australians than to keep them aboard until the ship returned to Japan. 

      Our ship-boarder was taken on the high seas far distant from New Zealand, and the ship was about to return to Japan anyway.  He also did a bit of damage – not enough to be piracy, but enough to charge him back in Japan.

  • Kimbo

    “If anybody has responsibility to send warships south on a policing mission it is the Japanese”.

    And, based on precedent (Tsushima 1905, Pearl Harbour and the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse in 1941), they are most capable of doing so!

    I’d actually pay money to Sea Shepherd to make sure they got themselves down to the Southern Ocean to see it happen!